A four-alarm grass fire on Sign Hill in San Francisco produced a large plume of smoke on Friday Oct. 16, 2020. (Michael Barba/S.F. Examiner)

A four-alarm grass fire on Sign Hill in San Francisco produced a large plume of smoke on Friday Oct. 16, 2020. (Michael Barba/S.F. Examiner)

Large grass fire burns South San Francisco hillside near famous sign

A grass fire near the South San Francisco sign Friday afternoon prompted evacuations from nearby homes and sent a large plume of smoke into the sky south of The City.

The fire was reported shortly before noon and was at five alarms as of around 1 p.m.

South San Francisco fire officials announced mandatory evacuations just after 1 p.m. for residents on Carnelian Road, Sonja Road, Mountain Road, Ridgeview Court and Viewmont Terrance. A temporary evacuation center was set up at 33 Arroyo Drive.

Fire officials also issued a request that residents keep drones out of the area for safety reasons.

The fire was reported contained shortly after 2 p.m. but residents were asked to stay out of the area while firefighterrs continued to work.

Remarkably, the fire was the first of two four-alarm blazes in South San Francisco Friday afternoon. A second fire was also reported in a warehouse in the 100 block of Starlite Street around 2:50 p.m.

The fires came on a day when the National Weather Service extended its Red Flag warning for much of the Bay Area through 6 p.m. due to gusty winds and above-average temperatures.

Parts of Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties were affected by the Red Flag warning, which signals when the danger of a wildfire sparking and spreading is heightened.

Hot, dry conditions were expected to pair with 15-30 mph winds in the mountains and 5 to 15 mph winds in the Bay Area’s valleys to make it easier for fires to start. Wind gusts were expected to reach up to 55 mph in the mountains and 30 mph in the valleys.

At this time there is a four alarm fire on Sign Hill. Authorities are on the scene and evacuation instructions will…

Posted by South San Francisco Fire Department on Friday, 16 October 2020

This is a developing story, please check back for updates. Bay City News contributed to this report

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